The Craftsmen style porch is solid and new with the signature Cape Cod shakes on the outside and fresh white trim. Rocking chairs as well as overstuffed chairs line the inside making it an extension of this comfortable beach house. I move a rocking chair to the top of the porch steps to get a better view of the street and slowly rock. The neighborhood is still asleep. I had figured out how to use the coffee machine when I got up, so a warm mug was my companion. Sipping hot hazelnut coffee, I entertain random thoughts and quirky ideas that I seldom have the luxury to do. There’s nothing on the schedule today. To my left, the sun slowly arcs upward as I watch it momentarily rest behind a tree. A little further away, I can hear crashing waves and cawing gulls at the shoreline. We are only a short sandy block from the ocean. Dave and Jayne are out early for their daily beach stroll. It is 5:30am and I’m enjoying this alone time rapt in thought and sunshine.
We were excited to get away. We had been to Dave and Jayne’s a few times, but this was the first time this summer. We don’t often see them, except for a few get-togethers here and there. They invited us for a couple of days of total relaxation and friendship. We took off on a Thursday making it a quick 2-hour ride without the mangled weekend Cape traffic. As we approached Thomas Avenue at 3pm, we could see beachgoers walking home along the main road. They looked tired and tanned, lugging chairs, bags, and kids. The salty breeze and a hint of sunscreen wafted into our open car windows. We had arrived. We turned onto Thomas and saw Dave’s dark blue car parked in front.
From the driveway, we couldn’t believe our eyes. They had renovated, adding a new front porch. Their house looked totally different. The cedar shakes, bright trim and thick columns welcomed you from the street. The house was transformed from a bland façade to a bonified classic beach house. We were met at the back door by Dave and Jayne, where they greeted us with hugs as they ushered us in. Jayne was preparing an early dinner of seafood for Dave to grill when ready. Jamie and I went outside with Dave to have drinks on the porch before dinner. I was immediately hooked. This new space was bright with wide plank floors and a high roof. To me, it felt alive with a gentle breeze, muted street noises and glowing sunshine. I found my happy place for the visit.
From that point on, the porch was our coveted gathering spot. Coffee in the morning, relaxing after the beach, drinks before dinner, nightcap at bedtime. We only slept in the house. All our waking hours were spent either at the beach or talking for hours on the porch. We drove into town for dinner one night having pizza and ice cream, then walked around the historic picturesque harbor. The evening was bustling with excited tourists and townies alike. Jayne and I found an old bench along the winding harbor walkway to finish our ice cream and people watch for a few minutes, while Dave and Jamie talked under a nearby tree. I would jump up to scratch a cute dog every so often, as I am weirdly obsessed with dogs. Finishing our ice cream, we meandered a few blocks back to the car, and eventually back to our anchor – the front porch.
We bonded over a couple of days, sharing stories and experiences all while feeling the salt air on our skin and the warm ocean breeze in our hair. Sitting in comfy chairs, the dim porch light above created an intimate setting to unwind, tell truths, and laugh uncontrollably. It’s not easy to find friends and we were all silently comforted by our long-time commitment to each other and the joy of spending time together. I’m convinced that a house isn’t a home without a unique place within it to bring the people you love. In this case, it was that wonderful pristine new porch. Dave and Jayne confessed that they hardly used the porch before we came, but might start now. They may have realized, through outside eyes, how warm memories can continue to be created here. A special place that makes your heart grow fonder.